We had our old friends, led by Zip from Singapore, returning for a record 9th round of fishing with GFA. This was a trip carried over from May when our season was interrupted by a temporary ban that has since been lifted. The guys were getting in just after the cyclone “Titli” had passed, so we were sure that the weather gods would at least smile on us this week. The idea for this trip was to target deep spots with heavy lures and hope we could raise a few monster GT’s on topwater and couple this with a bit of jigging action for the Dogtooth that we know are about. We were hoping that the green water would have cleared out and the fish would come up to feed, giving us a chance on the surface lures. Having fished with the guys so many times before, they knew what to expect and had the right kit for the job on hand.
We set out hoping the un-fished spots we were about to target would provide the necessary action. Enroute to our first spot we came upon a school of Yellowfin tuna feeding with spinner dolphins and birds. The guys got set up and as the lures got into the water they had a few hits. Thomas hooked up on his Craft Bait one we thought was a really good size; however, it was only hooked in the tail, as we saw on landing it. The picture was another challenge though…poor Thomas was shaken up like a rag doll as he tried to hold the fish steady for the picture. Getting to our first spot we soon had a few nipper GT’s in the bag and being tempted to try out a light Zenaq Jigging Rod with a jig that was being tested, I did a drop in 45 meters of water. Zip joined me with an even lighter setup and I soon had a solid strike that screamed off line from the Certate, at near locked drag. Unfortunately, Zip’s light setup got tangled with mine and as we tried to free it, my fish bust off. This kind of set the tone that it was going to be a jigging trip primarily, although we would give the topwater a good bash as well.
As the guys were eager to try popping we decided to give the next full morning session a good go with the big Hammer Head poppers. Thomas stuck to the his old faithful Craft Bait GT3 on his Tokara and it seemed Thomas again was the lucky man with a huge take, only to discover his treble hook had opened with the bite force. We then tried a few more spots with slow action on topwater before moving on to another jigging spot. Here, in a matter of a few drops, we had a few fish on and then Derick’s jig got inhaled and the fish screamed off, getting him down to half a spool very quickly. We had to pour water on the poor Certate 4000 to cool it off but it was short lived as the PE3 bust off just as the fish made another run. Time to go to heavier gear on the jigs. Wei Boon kept going with his big chugging poppers in deeper water and was rewarded with the resounding “boom” we love to hear when a big GT takes a surface lure. He set the hooks and held on but the fish pulled out a near-locked Saltiga drag and won its freedom from the sharp corals after making an at least 15-20 meter run.
Returning to the jigging, we started jigging a ledge and were soon into the action. With 2-3 rods going off each drift and one of the anglers almost always fighting a fish at any time, what was so amazing about this session was the amount of species that were feeding in the area, from Cobia to Golden Trevally, Trigger fish and large dogtooth tuna. One can only imagine what it must have felt like to be a small fish in that feeding frenzy. Soon, even the anglers were able to tell the fish from the way they were fighting. We had had so many hits and so much action. The big dogtooth action was just insane, and we were able to pick them up on the sounder so knew when a hit was expected. Derick set the trend when he landed a nice 30-kilo specimen. Boon was unlucky when a big dogtooth he fought till we could see it bit through the leader and got away and even worse when after he had stopped what seemed like an unstoppable run from another big doggie, Thomas hooked into a bonito that managed to wrap itself around Boon’s mainline and poor Boon’s mainline broke off and with it a very good doggie as well. When we tallied the results from that session we had 15 species and 35 fish landed. The lost count was not even considered but the jig lost count was 20 plus for the day. Both Zip and Boon had landed nice dogtooth to add to the tally of fish in the 30-kilo region.
Having found the fish, we decided to repeat the jigging action of the day before. Again, we found the fish deep and ready and willing to take the jigs as compared to anything on the surface. This day we found what were sure to be big GT’s and we did manage to land a few of the smaller ones up to 20 kilos on the jig and some on very light tackle as well. On the heavy tackle we got the hook ups and long powerful runs with the head shaking but somehow the hooks seemed to pull out and the fish got away. Zip was the lucky one today and managed to get two very nice dogtooth specimens of 20-kilo and 30-kilo on his PE3 light setup with a bait casting Ocea Conquest 300 sized reel. We lost so many big fish, jigs and had quite a few laughs at our inability to land any of the monsters that we hooked into. There was also a funny incident when Zip managed the impossible of landing a trigger fish on jig with everyone else was hooked into something much larger on the boat. Thomas had quite a bit of fun with a big shark that looked like a bull shark that came to the boat and was estimated to be about 70-80 kilos.
This pretty much summarises our trip – good jigging sessions, lost fish, plenty of laughs and of course no trip from Singapore is complete without plenty of the famous Barbeque Honey Pork or Bwa Kwa.
Enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for more updates.
Till next time,
Popping Rods: Zenaq Tobizo 200, Hammer Head Faube 77M+, Carpenter SP78 EXH,UHL, Carpenter TBL 80/40, Smith Tokara, Ocean Revolution Widowmaker
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella, Diawa Saltiga Dogfight, Diawa Catalina
Lures: HammerHead G-Cup, E-Cup, I-Cup, Shimano Wild Response, Shimano F220, CraftBait GT3, Carpenter GT Gamma, Carpenter Bluefish, Kokari 160
Jigging Rods: Smith AMJ, Zenaq, MHC, Seed
Jigging Reels: Shimano Stella, Shimano Ocea Jigger, Shimano Ocea Conquest, Diawa Certate, Accurate
Jigs: Seven Seas Hooker, Hots Conk, Daiwa, Shimano
Species Caught: Long Nose Emperor, Giant Trevally, Bluefin Trevally, Bludger Trevally, Bonito, Goldspot Trevally, Golden Trevally, African Pompano, Twin Spot Snapper, Dogtooth Tuna, Green Jobfish, Grouper, Yellowfin Tuna, Trigger Fish, Cobia, Rainbow Runner, Bull Shark, Rusty Jobfish, Green Jobfish, Barracuda